Sheepernova in Review – Physics Ain’t Just For The Birds

Due to the nature of the App Store, for every game you’ve heard of there are literally hundreds that get swept under the rug, both good and bad.  Sheepernova is one such game, and to be perfectly frank, I pretty much dismissed it myself when I first saw it.  Once I actually tried it, however, I realized there was a decent game that just needed the highly coveted item called exposure.  That’s exactly what I hope to do by bringing you this review.  Games like this are exactly why mobile device companies should encourage a thriving indie development community.

It appears that your poor little sheep have lost their way (okay, who left the spaceship’s airlock open?) and it’s up to you to guide them to safety.  Of course, I still haven’t figured out how a swirling vortex could be considered safety, but I guess that’s another story.  At a base level you need to make sure every sheep on a given level makes its way to the vortex.  However, to truly master the levels you must collect all three stars on the level.  There are also some timed levels, and on those levels you must come in below the designated time in order to even complete the level.  It sounds easy enough, and it even starts out that way.

Basically, all you do is flick the sheep in the direction you want them to go.  In theory, gravity takes care of the rest.  Gravity comes from all the planets that lie between the sheep and the vortex.  Unfortunately, gravity doesn’t always cooperate like you’d expect it to.  Additionally if certain planets are touched they will temporarily set the sheep on fire, giving them an (un)wanted burst of speed.  Conversely, some planets will freeze the poor sheep temporarily, making them impervious to the effects of the other planets – and apparently to your swipes as well.  Just wait until you get to the levels that have multiple sheep… and are also timed!

To move the sheep around you swipe them.  Your swipe determines both the direction and velocity of their initial movement.  In one set of levels you only get one swipe to get the sheep to its vortex, so it might take many attempts at finding just the right movement to take advantage of the different objects in the scene and get your sheep to safety.  The one bad thing is that there are times where you might get a swipe almost right, but then on the next go around you have no vantage point for your previous attempt, which means it will be blind luck for you to recreate the movement again.  I’m not sure that such a “last movement” mechanism is even possible for this type of game, but it would be great if it were.  Despite this one minor inconvenience, it won’t take long before you just can’t help but try for three stars on every level.

Sheepernova is a cute looking game.  Ironically, though, it is not the sheep that steal the show but the planets.  I love the expressions on the planets’ “faces”, and it is amusing watching them watch your sheep float off into space.  The flaming sheep is a decent effect, but the frozen sheep is a bit understated, and often hard to tell that it’s even frozen.  Sound effects consists mostly of collision noises between the sheep and other objects, as well as various tones of bleating from the sheep depending on whether they are successfully arriving at the vortex or being knocked around the screen.  Each level set has its own tune, all classical in nature.  I’m not 100% sure it fits the game, but I like classical music, so it’s all good to me.

It never ceases to amaze me what small time developers can come up with when it comes to mobile games.  I really did not expect much from Sheepernova, but what I got was a fun physics game that grabs you with its easy control and sucks you in with its three star rating system.  Birds are cool and Om Nom is charming, but I’m more than happy to add this battle between sheep and planets to my growing collection of addictive iPhone puzzle games.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Sheepernova Developer: Moving Target
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.1 Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 16.2 MB
  • Simple, addictive game play
  • Plenty of levels
  • Planets with amusing expressions
  • No way to base moves on previous attempts


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